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Wall Street set to open lower on Trump tariff threat

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(Reuters) – Wall Street was set to open lower on Tuesday after President Donald Trump said he would move ahead with more tariffs on Chinese goods, dampening optimism of resolving the ongoing trade spat at the upcoming G20 Summit.

Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., November 26, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Ahead of the meeting in which the United States and China are widely expected to enter a trade deal, Trump told the Wall Street Journal he expects to raise tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports to 25 percent, calling it “highly unlikely” that he would accept China’s request to hold off on the increase.

“The market remains in a fragile state and because of that anytime tariffs come into the picture you have worries,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York.

“Investors are looking for some positive news out of the G20, but until there is a concrete announcement on tariffs, investors will remain jittery.”

Apple Inc (AAPL.O) fell 2.0 percent in premarket trading after Trump said that tariffs could also be placed on laptops and iPhones imported from China.

Other FAANG members and technology stocks, including chipmakers which have the highest revenue exposure to China among S&P 500 companies, also declined.

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Applied Materials Inc (AMAT.O) fell 1.4 percent, Micron Technology Inc (MU.O) 2.0 percent and Nvidia Corp (NVDA.O) 1.3 percent.

Micron came under added pressure after brokerage UBS lowered its price target, pointing to lower selling prices of DRAM and NAND flash memory chips.

The downbeat mood comes after Wall Street started off the week on a high note, partly helped by retail stocks gaining on the hopes of a robust holiday season.

At 8:23 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis 1YMc1 were down 112 points, or 0.46 percent. S&P 500 e-minis ESc1 were down 13 points, or 0.49 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQc1 were down 46.75 points, or 0.7 percent.

General Motors Co (GM.N) fell 0.8 percent after the carmaker’s plans to close an assembly plant and a transmission plant in Ohio drew criticism from Trump.

Investors would be looking for clues on the path of future interest rate hikes with Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Richard Clarida addressing an event in New York on Tuesday and Fed Chairman Jerome Powell set to speak on Wednesday.

Market watchers have also been anxious to know the central bank’s view on signs of slowing economic growth in the face of rising trade tensions.

On the macro front, a report from the U.S. Conference Board at 10:00 a.m. ET is expected to show that its consumer confidence index slipped to 135.9 in November from a reading of 137.9 in the prior month.

Reporting by Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur

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